– Says Guyana’s systems not mature enough to ensure effective monitoring
As the coalition administration continues efforts to set up the account for the Natural Resource Fund at the United States Federal Reserve Bank, Attorney-at-Law, Sanjeev Datadin says he already foresees trouble on the horizon for the nation.
Attorney-at-Law, Sanjeev Datadin
In this regard, the lawyer noted that the legislation that outlines how the Fund is to receive money, how that money is to be spent and how that spending is reported on is “remarkably complicated and vague.”
During an interview on Kaieteur Radio’s programme, ‘Guyana’s Oil and You,’ the lawyer reminded that the Fund will not only hold oil money, but also excess revenue from forestry and mining. In his eyes, the lumping of those revenues only complicates matters.
He also noted that there are various tiers of investments, according to the Act, which would be determined by an Investment Committee.
According to the Act, “The Fund shall only be invested in eligible asset classes which shall be limited to – (a) eligible bank deposits which are bank deposits held in United States Dollars with foreign financial institutions that have a long-term bank deposit rating in a category which is equal to, or the equivalent of, or above from at least two of the following institutions – (i) Fitch; (ii) Moody’s and (iii) Standard and Poor’s, or an account held at the Bank in Guyana Dollars or United States Dollars; (b) eligible treasury bills which are treasury bills issued by a sovereign in their domestic currency where the domestic currency of the sovereign is a basket currency of the Special Drawing Rights and the sovereign has a long-term credit rating for their domestic currency which is equal to, or the equivalent of, …- (i) Fitch; (ii) Moody’s and (iii) Standard and Poor’s;…”
Datadin argued that in light of the aforementioned, which is just a small subset of the section in the Act, Guyana’s immature systems and capacity would not allow for the effective monitoring of same when it is implemented.
The lawyer said, “We don’t have that capacity and when you do complicated legislation like that you need mature government services. We just don’t have that. We can’t even monitor and implement the rules we have now….We need legislation that is simple, legislation which gives us proper reports and dissemination of proper information…”
Datadin was also questioning of the legality of the Natural Resource Fund as he pointed out that its legislation was passed after the No-Confidence Motion was heard on December 21, 2018.
He was also critical of the fact that it was passed in the absence of the Opposition which represents half of the population.
The lawyer said, “…The reality is that it is never good business when only one side of the political divide passes laws that will be about the future of my children, your children and our grandchildren…We have not had any proper debate or consultation on it, and that is the first problem with it.”